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City probe of staffing firms nets fines, closures

November 21 2008

An 18-month investigation of employment agencies by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs resulted in the closure of three, the collection of more than $160,000 in fines and more than $80,000 in restitution, the department announced last week. And the city plans to continue inspections and monitoring the industry.

The Latinos Employment Agency and La Union employment agency in Queens were shut down for misleading customers about rights to refunds and inaccurately documenting fees levied and salaries, the Department of Consumer Affairs said. Latinos Employment Agency was barred from obtaining a new employment agency license for six months and La Union for 18 months. The BCE Employment Agency was barred from obtaining an employment license and shut down for providing false information on its license application, according to the department

In addition, the department said it's entering into settlement packages with 159 employment agencies out of New York City's total of more than 300 agencies.

The packages require the businesses to attend mandatory training sessions on violations and errors as well as pay a $500 fine. The department said it brought charges against one agency in the settlement, Dalia's Service Agency Inc. of Brooklyn, after violations were still found when settled with the city. An undercover investigation found it continued to collect fees without providing a written contract and required non-English speakers to sign contracts in English, according to the department.

The department said it conducted almost 100 inspections of agencies.

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